Do Breaks in Relationships Work?

Do Breaks in Relationships Work?

Do Breaks in Relationships Work?_ichhori.webP

"Taking a break" is a phrase used in relationships to denote what is usually considered to be a brief separation. When your relationship feels stuck or you can't figure out how to move forward, taking a break may seem like a good way to put things on hold while you figure out what's next. To take a break from a relationship, you should do the following:

  • Set a time limit for the duration of the break.
  • Make ground rules.
  • Use this time to think about your relationship and your ambitions.
  • Determine your next moves.

The reasons for taking a break can vary, but the goal is usually to return to the partnership with fresh devotion and love. The question is whether or not breaks are effective. Is taking a break something that will assist your relationship in the long run, or will it destroy it?

The reality is that every couple is unique, and all couples will go through difficult times. For some couples, swinging back and forth between an on-again, off-again condition may be typical. A brief gap can occasionally turn into a permanent split for others.

Before you decide to call it quits on your relationship, you should consider whether a short separation will benefit you more than it will harm you. Consider your motivations for taking a break and what you can do to make it a beneficial experience.

Does Taking a Break Work?

Healthy relationships, according to couples therapist and relationship expert Kathryn Ford, MD, entail a balance of varied degrees of distance while yet maintaining contact.

"We often consider separating from a loved one as an unloving act that goes against nurturing a relationship. But, as she explains to Ichhori, "the effective use of closeness and distance is a very crucial component of intimacy."

The degree of space between two people in a healthy relationship is continually varied. The appropriate amount of space maximises love and connection while limiting harm to each individual and the partnership. KATHRYN FORD, M.D.

Taking a temporary break is one technique to establish distance in a relationship, but how much distance you require and how long it lasts depends on the circumstances.

Relationship Churning

Breaks are sometimes necessary, but they can also be an indication of relationship instability. This trend of breaking up and then reuniting is referred to by researchers as "relationship churn," and it is more common among young adults.

According to one study, nearly half of the participants experienced breaking up with their partner and then reuniting with them.

For many young adults, splitting up to spend time alone helps them to invest in self-discovery and personal aspirations. When they are ready to recommit to the relationship, they may reunite, this time with fresh experiences and talents that will enrich the connection.

In certain circumstances, taking a break may be beneficial, but some studies warn that this type of relationship pattern may have a negative impact on the direction and outcome of future relationships. If you are prone to splitting up and then reconciling, you may be more inclined to cycle through following relationships in the same way. 

While taking a break has obstacles and hazards, it may be a beneficial technique when utilised carefully and with care and planning. Dr Ford suggests that, while taking a break can be a risky move, it can also be the correct step for a partnership.

The key is to ensure that you are taking a break for the appropriate reasons, that you have clear ground rules in place, and that you use the time properly to get clarity.


Breaking up with someone is more common than you might think, especially among young adults. Such gaps can create possibilities for growth that might be beneficial when a couple decides to restart their relationship.

Reasons to Take a Break in a Relationship

Relationships can often take a straight line that begins with dating and eventually leads to either a more permanent, long-term commitment or a breakup. Relationships, on the other hand, are not uncommon to travel a far less consistent route, typically progressing in a succession of fits, starts, or even temporary interruptions.

Your relationship may not take a perfectly straight road, but that doesn't mean it's doomed to collapse. Taking a break at the right time and for the right purpose may be exactly what you need to strengthen your connection and deepen your commitment.

Some examples of when taking a vacation might be a good idea:

When You Need Time to Focus on Your Own Needs

Breaks, according to Ford, might be beneficial if you need time away from the relationship to better understand your personal needs. "There are moments when we need to be alone to reconnect with ourselves." This is especially true if one of you is contemplating a significant change in intimacy and commitment, such as moving closer or, opposite, maybe terminating the relationship," she says.

If either of you is unsure where you want to take the relationship next, taking a break could help you get some perspective. Spending time apart allows you to reflect on what you desire individually and as a couple. Time apart may also help you decide if the relationship is something you want to pursue in the future.

When You’re at Odds

If you find yourself arguing all the time and unable to reach a resolution, it is a good idea to take a break.

When the two of you are unable to properly cease negative dynamics, a break may be beneficial. Changing your interaction habits necessitates inhibiting or stopping your previous habitual behaviours. It is sometimes necessary to take a pause in order to re-set. KATHRYN FORD, M.D.

Spending some time away may help you reflect on your involvement in the conflict, allow you to consider alternative points of view, and allow you to cool down and tackle problems with a clearer mind.

When Circumstances Demand It

 Ford also mentions that taking a break is sometimes required owing to the demands of the scenario. For example, if you are going to be physically separated owing to situations such as a job or other reasons, you may need to take a break.

While it is possible to maintain a long-term relationship, it is not always possible. "Discuss this openly and be explicit about expectations, particularly when it comes to other romantic/sexual connections," Ford advises.

Whatever the reason, it is critical to recognise that taking a break can sometimes result in a permanent breakup. If you decide to try taking a break, be aware that this may be the outcome and plan for what you will do if it is.

How Often Do Couples Take Breaks?

How frequently do people end relationships? Statistics are difficult to come by, and many of those that are accessible may not reflect current trends. Some older research, however, implies that over half of adults will split up and later reunite with a partner at least once throughout their lives. 

Taking breaks is not limited to dating couples. According to estimates, 6% to 18% of married couples divorce at some point throughout their marriage.  Sometimes married partners intend for these uncouplings to be permanent, but what they end up becoming is an unintentional way of taking a break in the middle of a long-term commitment.

Taking a break when needed may be an intentional way of resetting a relationship that avoids much of the anger, heartbreak, and conflict that often characterises a normal breakup in such cases.

How to Take a Break Without Breaking Up

So, what can people do to make a break productive so that they can go on in a healthy way, whether they eventually get back together or call it quits? If you determine that a break is the best option for your relationship right now, there are several things you should do beforehand.

Set a Time Limit

Set a time limit for the duration of the break before agreeing to it. The length of your break is determined by your relationship and the reasons you are taking it. Allow yourself adequate time to acclimate to being apart and focus on your feelings throughout this period.

Also, during your time apart, be sure to lean on the other helpful individuals in your life. "Stay connected to the other people in your life, especially those that support your break aspirations," Ford advises.

Establish Ground Rules

It is critical to establish ground rules during a break. You must both agree on what constitutes acceptable behaviour during this period. Is it acceptable to date other people? Or have sex with other people?

How to Set Ground Rules for a Break

Relationship expert Kathryn Ford, MD suggests that you should keep the following in mind as you set ground rules:

  • Talk about what you both want and need, including ground rules
  • Focus on minimising the damage to your relationships and to yourselves
  • Be realistic about your expectations

The ground rules for your break are in place to safeguard both the relationship and each individual in it. "Even though you are thinking about leaving, you have had a caring relationship with each other. It will be critical to find ways to take care of yourself while also behaving nicely toward the other person throughout the break, as it was during the relationship "Ford elaborates.

Whatever you select, it is critical that you are both on the same page to avoid surprises. Ford emphasises the importance of adhering to the regulations that you have agreed upon.

Ground rules often address issues like as how much contact you will have with each other as well as with others, both romantically and/or sexually. The purpose of these rules is to aid in the success of the break, limit any damage to your relationship, and allow you to continue with your duties (including in terms of child-care if you have kids together).

Use the Time to Reflect

The point of the break is to sort through your emotions, whether you are attempting to figure out your goals or considering whether the relationship is worthy of a more serious commitment. Use your time apart to think on your feelings, ambitions, and desires. You may talk to a close friend, write in a journal, or consult with a therapist.

This is a period of education. Pay attention to your feelings and thoughts, particularly those concerning this relationship. KATHYRN FORD, M.D.

Make a Decision

After the agreed-upon period has passed, get back together to discuss the next stages in your relationship. Discuss what you learnt during your time apart and how it may effect your relationship in the future.

You may be eager to resume your relationship at this time, but you may also believe that speaking with a couples therapist would be beneficial. In other circumstances, you and your partner may both agree that the best solution is to stop the relationship permanently.


Set a time limit and clarify your expectations before taking a break. While you're separated, make sure you stick to the ground rules you agreed on and look after yourself.

A Word From Ichhori 

There are numerous reasons why you might consider taking a break from your relationship. It can be used to re-establish the relationship, obtain clarity about your personal needs, and even develop a healthier relationship with your partner. The key to making it work is to approach it with thought and intention, understanding why you're taking a break and setting expectations for what will happen during the break.

A well-executed break can help you better understand your needs, ambitions, and relationship with your partner. "Taking a break is an interruption of touch, but it does not have to be an interruption of your caring and compassion," Ford says.

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